GLORIOUS sunshine soaked Thai New Year celebrations at Wanstead Flats on Sunday.

The Wat Buddharam Thai Buddhist event brought the community together to enjoy traditional festivities and raise £16,485 for their new religious centre which was destroyed in a fire last month.

The Theravada Buddhist monks, formerly in Cann Hall Road, Leytonstone, are now based in St George's Road, Leyton, while renovations are carried out at the site of their new centre in Blake Hall Road, Wanstead.

Religious delegates and around 350 Thai Buddhists from all over London, South East England and Thailand travelled to the Blake Hall Sports Club in Blake Hall Road, Wanstead, for one of the most important Thai festivals of the year.

New Year is a time Thai people devote to making merit by offering food to monks and performing the bathing rite of the Buddha statues.

They also pay their respects to the elders by pouring scented water on their palms and asking for forgiveness.

In return the elders wish them blessings, good luck and prosperity.

The Buddhist monks gave Dhamma talks on scripture in Thai and in English, the community enjoyed a meal together and traditional Thai and Sri Lankan dancing entertained all.